It’s been two weeks since my last confession. Sorry.
When I was learning to write, it took over a decade to get any good at it, I was taking a novel writing class at the local junior college. I was in the middle of a sci-fi novel and the years of rejection had been piling up to undermine the hope I have in my ability. I call that feeling despair.
There was a Q&A with the professor where he volunteered to answer any questions we had about writing, publishing, etc. I asked him how he dealt with despair. He told me he never had it.
I’m not sure I believe him, but that’s not really relevant. I have it. Sometimes it feels like everything is going to collapse in on itself, like all the hard work I’ve done isn’t going to pay off and the entire project is going to collapse.
And that brings us back to Zoe Keating and ALGORITHM’s soundtrack. I’ve mentioned her awesome already. Well, in the last two weeks I’ve found out more information about her that makes her even more awesome. She handles all her own sales, marketing, etc. She does have booking agents, but other than that, she does it all herself. On top of that, she’s very open with her numbers, about how much she makes and where it comes in. Not surprisingly, she’s kinda bummed about Spotify, as is nearly every other independent musician I know.
Her doing all her own stuff makes her awesome as a rebel indie artist. But, it make it kinda hard when she lets me know that she’s not reading any of her emails because she’s busy in her “Cellocave”. I’ve been waiting over a month and a half for her response.
The only medium I’ve managed to get a direct response from her on is Twitter. I really don’t like conducting business on Twitter. Some of the aspects of making art available to people is less than pretty. Sure, you can visit the factory and find out how everything is made, but tours of the factory aren’t the best marketing tools.
I sent Zoe a tweet, asking her to deal with my email because my time is limited. She said she’d forwarded my email to her licensing agent. I didn’t know she had one. I would have contacted him in the first place and circumvented all this waiting, or at least made it so I was waiting on the right person.
I guess that’s one of the disadvantages of being independent. We don’t scale very well.
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And then there’s my personal energy. I finished editing the movie last Friday. At least, I thought I had. I knew there were a couple small tweaks I had to make, but it was done. Earlier this week I began making those small tweaks and found them to be a bit more sizable. After three more days of work, the movie is done, mostly. There’s still a few more tweaks.
The thing about last Friday was, I felt a sense of completion, tweaks not withstanding. I wanted to revel in the awesome thing I had done. My wife took me to a wine bar and I had what was the best wine of my life, so far.
I also hoped there would be a small vacation. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. I had to take two non-consecutive days off this week. I was burning out. I need a break. And, do you know who’s going to pick up the slack? No one. Which means, I don’t get a break. Because, marketing. And when that’s done, I’ve got distribution. After I’ve released ALGORITHM, and you have your copy, as does everyone you know, then it’s on to making sure the money gets distributed according to the profit-share agreement. Then it’s on to seeing how far I can spread ALGORITHM: various subtitle translations, VOD, possibly movie theaters, and maybe even a short university tour. It’s going to be at least another year before I get a break.
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I don’t know if Zoe’s agent is going to ask more than I can give, or if he even exists at all. It might be a ruse to get me to shut up on Twitter. Or, she might not really be interested in letting me use her music. See how the mind plays its little doubt-games?
I don’t know if everyone will love the movie as much as everyone who has already seen it has. I don’t know if people will buy it or simply pirate it, since I’m releasing it as DRM-free as I can. I don’t know if any of the cast/crew/producers will get greedy and sue me. I don’t know that I won’t get hit by a bus on the way to my lunch meeting with ALGORITHM’s Neil, Communications Director.
But, I keep going. Because if I don’t, nothing happens. And, I’ve been down that road before. And it doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s not quite stasis because I keep aging, but it’s close. I work, hard, as hard as I can, doing the best I can in every way I can. If ALGORITHM fails, it won’t be because of anything I did or didn’t do. That’s how I sleep at night. That’s how I can look at my wife and hold my head high. That’s how I keep going. That’s how I defeat despair. Everyone feels it. Those who excel simply don’t quit.